TD 16 organizing; Mexican landslide kills hundreds; hottest day ever in Los Angeles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:25 PM GMT on September 28, 2010

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The large area of low pressure centered just south of Cuba's Isle of Youth has developed enough of a well-defined circulation to be classified as Tropical Depression Sixteen, and is likely to become Tropical Storm Nicole by Wednesday. The depression has a very broad center, with little heavy thunderstorm activity near the center, and is this very dissimilar to the usual types of tropical depressions we see in the Atlantic. The large size, broad center, and lack of heavy thunderstorm activity near the center of TD 16 will limit the storm's ability to rapidly intensify. TD 16 resembles the "monsoon depressions" common in India's Bay of Bengal or the Western Pacific. A monsoon depression is similar to a regular tropical depression in the winds that it generates--about 30 - 35 mph near the outer edges (and usually stronger on the eastern side of the circulation.) Monsoon depressions have large, calm centers, and can evolve into regular tropical storms, if given enough time over water to develop a tight, closed circulation. Today's monsoon-like depression in the Caribbean was able to form because the atmospheric flow pattern of the Eastern Pacific has shifted eastwards into the Western Caribbean, bringing in the Eastern Pacific ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, a region of converging surface winds that creates a band of strong thunderstorms). This unusual flow pattern is forecast to remain in place for at least the next ten days.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft has been flying at 700 feet in TD 16 since 1:30pm EDT, and has thus far found a central pressure of 999 mb. The strongest winds at flight level seen as of 3:20pm EDT were 32 mph, located about 100 miles east of the center of TD 16. Surface observations show that the strongest winds at any surface station continue to be at Buoy 42057, several hundred miles to the southeast of TD 16's center. Winds were 27 mph, gusting to 34 mph at 2:43pm EDT this afternoon. Rotation of TD 16 can be seen on radar loops out of Pico San Juan, Cuba, and well as satellite imagery. The heavy thunderstorms are currently quite disorganized, but a curved band is beginning to wrap around the north side of the center, signaling that TD 16 is growing more organized. TD 16 has brought torrential rains to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cuba, and Honduras today.


Figure 1. Radar-estimated precipitation for South Florida and Cuba. TD 16 has brought 2 - 4 inches of rains to the region.

Forecast for TD 16
Because TD 16 is so large, it will take more time than a typical depression for it to spin up into a strong tropical storm. Given that the steering currents are expected to pull TD 16 north-northeastwards over Cuba and into South Florida and the western Bahamas on Wednesday, the storm lacks sufficient time over water to be any stronger than a 50 mph tropical storm for Florida. TD 16 is organizing pretty slowly this afternoon, and I think the top winds in Southeast Florida are most likely to be in the 25 - 35 mph range on Wednesday. Winds are likely to be stronger in the western Bahamas, perhaps 30 - 40 mph, since they will be in the stronger right front quadrant of the storm. By the time TD 16 makes landfall in South Carolina or North Carolina on Thursday morning, it could be as strong as a 50 - 60 mph tropical storm. However, wind shear will increase sharply on Thursday as TD 16 gets caught in an upper-level trough of low pressure, and NHC is giving TD 16 only a 9% chance of making it to hurricane strength before it becomes an extratropical storm on Thursday. The primary danger from TD 16 is not wind, but heavy rainfall. A potent upper-level low and stationary front over the U.S. East Coast have been pulling moist, tropical air from the Caribbean northwards over the past few days, bringing heavy rains that have saturated the soils. This is called a Predecessor Rain Event, or PRE, since it comes in advance of the actual rain shield of the storm. (A PRE from Hurricane Karl brought southern Wisconsin the heavy rain that caused the levee on the Wisconsin River to fail yesterday.) Wilmington, NC received 10.33 inches of rain yesterday, its second greatest one-day rainfall since record keeping began in 1871. Only the 13.38" that fell during Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999 beat yesterday's rainfall total. With TD 16 expected to bring another 6 - 8 inches of rain to the region later this week, serious flooding is likely, and flash flood watches are posted for the North Carolina/ South Carolina border region. South Florida is also under a flood watch, for 3 - 5 inches of rain. Flooding rains of similar magnitude can also be expected in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Western Bahamas through Wednesday night. Both the GFDL and HWRF models are predicting that TD 16 will dump rains in excess of eight inches along narrow portions of its path in eastern Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.


Figure 2. Forecast precipitation for the 5-day period from 8am today through 8am EDT Sunday, October 3, 2010. Image credit: NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

Up to 1,000 feared dead in Mexican landslide
Mexico has taken the brunt of the devastation from the hurricane season of 2010, thanks to the landfalls of this year's two deadliest and most damaging storms, Hurricanes Alex and Karl. But Mexico's worst blow yet hit this morning, when heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew triggered a landslide in Mexico's mountainous Oaxaca state that buried as many as 1,000 people in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, a town of 9,000. Rescuers have not reached the area yet, but hundreds are feared dead in the 300 homes that were buried by the early morning landslide. Matthew hit Belize on Saturday as a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds, and dissipated Sunday over southern Mexico. However, Matthew's remains stalled out over the region of Mexico that had already received torrential rains from Hurricane Karl, which hit on September 18. Satellite estimates of Matthew's rains over southern Mexico (Figure 3) show that a foot of rain may have fallen in the landslide area. Matthew's remains still linger over the region, but are probably only capable of bringing 1 - 2 inches of additional rain through Thursday.


Figure 3. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the five-day period ending at 8pm EDT Monday September 27, 2010. The dark green colors show where rainfall amounts of 300 mm (about 12 inches) fell, due to the remnants of Tropical Storm Matthew. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Once TD 16 moves out of the Caribbean, the GFS model predicts that the Western Caribbean will "reload" and produce another tropical disturbance capable of developing into a tropical depression early next week. The GFS also predicts a tropical or subtropical storm will form over the Bahamas late this week, and move north-northeast along the U.S. East Coast, missing hitting land. The NOGAPS model hints at the Bahamas storm, and also predicts development of a tropical wave a few hundred miles northeast of the Lesser Antilles Islands, about a week from now.

Hottest day in Los Angeles history
The mercury hit a blistering 113°F (45.0°C) at 12:15 pm PDT yesterday in downtown Los Angeles, making it the hottest day in Los Angeles history. It may have gotten hotter, but the thermometer broke shortly after the record high was set. The previous record in Los Angeles was 112°F set on June 26, 1990; records go back to 1877. Nearby Long Beach tied its hottest all-time temperature yesterday, with a scorching 111°F. And Christopher C. Burt, our new featured blogger on weather records, pointed out to me that a station in the foothills at 1260' elevation near Beverly Hills owned by the Los Angeles Fire Department hit 119°F yesterday--the hottest temperature ever measured in the Los Angeles area, tying the 119°F reading from Woodland Hills on July 22, 2006. Yesterday's record heat was caused by an unusually large and intense upper-level high pressure system centered over Nevada that generated winds blowing from the land to the ocean, keeping the ocean from exerting its usual cooling influence. Remarkably, Los Angeles had its second coldest summer on record this year, and temperatures just five days ago were some the coldest September temperatures in the region for the past 50 years.

The remarkable summer of 2010
Wunderground is pleased to welcome a new featured blogger--weather historian Christopher C. Burt. Chris is a leading expert in the U.S. on weather records, and is author of the world's most popular weather records book published to date, Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book. He's spent a lifetime collaborating with like-minded individuals from around the world, and no one--including official sources such as the National Climatic Data Center and the National Extremes Committee--has done as thorough a job correlating the various weather records available and determining the most accurate extreme values of such. Each month he'll be reporting on the notable records for heat, cold, and precipitation set world-wide, and his first post takes a look at the remarkable summer of 2010. It's great to have someone like Chris who stays on top of weather extremes, and I hope you'll pay a visit to his blog and welcome him to the wunderground site!

"Hurricane Haven" airing this afternoon
My live Internet radio show, "Hurricane Haven", will be airing again today at 4pm EDT. The call in number is 415-983-2634, or you can post a question to broadcast@wunderground.com. Be sure to include "Hurricane Haven question" in the subject line.

Today's show will be about 30 minutes, and you can tune in at http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.h tml. The show will be recorded and stored as a podcast.

I'll have updates as the situation with TD 16 requires.

Jeff Masters

Alone again, naturally (ftogrf)
Lonely Seagull, as a storm associated with TD 16 is approaching.
Alone again, naturally

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Pouring and squally down here in the Coral Gables.
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who thinks this can stregthen tonite?
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Quoting IKE:
TD 16 is organizing pretty slowly this afternoon, and I think the top winds in Southeast Florida are most likely to be in the 25 - 35 mph range on Wednesday. .....

Good news for SE FL.


Way to go. Just pick out the one part that is a positive. Did you miss the part about the real threat to Florida and NC/SC? The flooding rains??

Here it is, in case you overlooked it:

The primary danger from TD 16 is not wind, but heavy rainfall. A potent upper-level low and stationary front over the U.S. East Coast have been pulling moist, tropical air from the Caribbean northwards over the past few days, bringing heavy rains that have saturated the soils. This is called a Predecessor Rain Event, or PRE, since it comes in advance of the actual rain shield of the storm. (A PRE from Hurricane Karl brought southern Wisconsin the heavy rain that caused the levee on the Wisconsin River to fail yesterday.) Wilmington, NC received 10.33 inches of rain yesterday, its second greatest one-day rainfall since record keeping began in 1871. Only the 13.38" that fell during Hurricane Floyd on September 15, 1999 beat yesterday's rainfall total. With TD 16 expected to bring another 6 - 8 inches of rain to the region later this week, serious flooding is likely, and flash flood watches are posted for the North Carolina/ South Carolina border region. South Florida is also under a flood watch, for 3 - 5 inches of rain. Flooding rains of similar magnitude can also be expected in Cuba, the Cayman Islands, and the Western Bahamas through Wednesday night. Both the GFDL and HWRF models are predicting that TD 16 will dump rains in excess of eight inches along narrow portions of its path in eastern Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Recon finding pressures as low as 998 mb.


998.3 in Grand Cayman
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Quoting reedzone:


I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean, that would be a first for me.


It would definitely be a rarity.

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When is the moisture of this storm going to affect MD? I'm trying to go camping this weekend, haha.
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Recon finding pressures as low as 998 mb.
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Quoting reedzone:


It's looking good for us here in Florida, though I have to push carts tonight and tomorrow night, during a TS. This is going to be an interesting week.


That stinks. A possible Irene type storm for Florida is in the cards with all of the moisture.
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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:


Well that would be good news then.. the further east the strongest winds.. the better for all.


Except maybe the Bahamas.
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for some reason i believe it will strenthen alot more tonight
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
If you Guys look to the East of TD 16 you will see more moisture and thunderstorms, in a couple days that could become our next system


I still haven't discounted M's remnants wandering back into the Caribbean.
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71. shauntanner (Admin)
Listen to Dr. Masters on the Hurricane Haven here at 4 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. PT. Call in with questions at 415-983-2634 or write questions to broadcast@wunderground.com
finding 998.x readings around..center could be south of where original thinking was

19.850N 82.683W
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
I think this system is sub-tropical

you see where the convection is, and the furthest east they went is not in that convection
It looks sub-tropical..Which means if it does intensify, it should resemble a glorified tropical Nor,Easter or something. And shear will have little to do with its development.
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The circulation is so broad it's hard to tell if system is moving much. But lowest pressure is still at buoy 19.8n 85.ow bp 29.52.
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Quoting IKE:
TD 16 is organizing pretty slowly this afternoon, and I think the top winds in Southeast Florida are most likely to be in the 25 - 35 mph range on Wednesday. .....

Good news for SE FL.


So, a LAKE WIND ADVISORY needs to be issued for Wednesday.
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From Wilmington NWS

.SHORT TERM /WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT/...
AS OF 300 PM TUESDAY...CONFIDENCE IS HIGH THAT SIGNIFICANT RAIN
WILL IMPACT THE REGION AS LOW PRESSURE OVER THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN
SEA IS DRAWN NORTHWARD BY AN UPPER LOW ANCHORING ITSELF DEEP INTO
THE GULF STATES WEDNESDAY INTO THURSDAY. IN ADDITION TO A DRENCHING
TROPICAL MOISTURE TAP...TIGHTENING MSLP FIELDS BETWEEN HIGH PRES
OFFSHORE OF THE CANADIAN MARITIME AND THE APPROACHING TROPICAL LOW
WILL DIRECT A ROBUST ONSHORE FLOW OFF THE WESTERN ATLANTIC. THIS
SHOULD SET THE STAGE FOR 2-DAY 7-11 INCH RAIN TOTALS ACROSS THE
COUNTY WARNING AREA WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY. FOR THIS REASON A
FLASH FLOOD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR NE SC AND SE NC ADDRESSING A
POTENTIAL FOR HAZARDOUS FLOODING.

CONFIDENCE REMAINS LOW HOWEVER ON ANTICIPATED WIND FIELDS WITH
THIS SCENARIO GIVEN DIVERGENT LOW PRESSURE TRACKS AND INTENSITY
AMONG VARIOUS MODEL SOLUTIONS. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ANY EPISODE
OF STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS INDUCED SYNOPTICALLY OR CONVECTIVELY COULD
BRING A POTENTIAL FOR FALLEN TREES GIVEN SATURATED SOILS. SEE THE
TIDES AND COASTAL SECTION BELOW FOR COASTAL CONCERNS.

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Quoting SeniorPoppy:
I rather have buckets of rain than a hurricane bearing down any day.



It's looking good for us here in Florida, though I have to push carts tonight and tomorrow night, during a TS. This is going to be an interesting week.
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SAB supports Nicole.
28/1745 UTC 20.8N 83.2W ST2.5 16L -- Atlantic
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just south and moving up.... about an hour or two.... but real mess will begin later tonite and tomorrow

Quoting oceanblues32:
Hello all located in dania beach southeast coast of florida just north of miami and no rain yet just a ton of clouds!!!! when is the rain coming?
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Hurricane Haven Chat
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problem with florida right now is its surrounded by warm water except e central which seems below normal acc/ to these graphs
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I rather have buckets of rain than a hurricane bearing down any day.

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Hello all located in dania beach southeast coast of florida just north of miami and no rain yet just a ton of clouds!!!! when is the rain coming?
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Guys I don't think the real COC is located where they say it is but rather to the south of it at like about 18.7N 82.0W pressures are dropping my station is reading 997.9Mb and falling faster than earler


The low pressure area is very broad.

Wind direction obs suggest otherwise.
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Quoting sflweatherguy:
The only thing i think is sure is we will get more rain and possibly more wind than we got with "tropical thunderstorm Bonnie"


That's about right.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
Guys I don't think the real COC is located where they say it is but rather to the south of it at like about 18.7N 82.0W pressures are dropping my station is reading 997.9Mb and falling faster than earler


Well Hurricane Hunters are on the way to investigate Cayman area.

We shall see.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:
I think this system is sub-tropical

you see where the convection is, and the furthest east they went is not in that convection


I've never seen a Subtropical Storm in the Caribbean, that would be a first for me.
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I have to see many surface observations at all from recon

I think they are focusing on getting a center fix first, then they will see what winds this has
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The only thing i think is sure is we will get more rain and possibly more wind than we got with "tropical thunderstorm Bonnie"
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We may see another shift W in the runs. So far the lowest pressures are W of the last official fix around 83W.
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Guys I don't think the real COC is located where they say it is but rather to the south of it at like about 18.7N 82.0W pressures are dropping my station is reading 997.9Mb and falling faster than earler
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Dr Masters actually mentioned Wilmington NC which is where I live and yes we have been INUNDATED with rain
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Good afternoon everyone!
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Update your Models?


Thats the latest and greatest I have.
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


considering that is not where the deepest convection is, I stand by my statement

remember this may be partially sub-tropical so we could easily see Tropical Storm force winds further away from the center

Then again if trough is relaxing wouldn't shear relax some for ts to consolidate around the center?
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Quoting Orcasystems:


I missed it.. been at work all day .. actually ..still at work :(


I see. Yes, awful down there in Mexico. Prayers to them. :(
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Convection has waned during Diurnal Min this afternoon with TD-16

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Quoting TreasureCoastFl:

"An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft has been flying at 700 feet in TD 16 since 1:30pm EDT, and has thus far found a central pressure of 999 mb. The strongest winds at flight level seen as of 3:20pm EDT were 32 mph, located about 100 miles east of the center of TD 16"
Isnt that east?


Negative

998.7 mb
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Quoting StormChaser81:
I guess models shifts to the west don't mean anything in this forecast.

But I do see that when the Doc is writing his analysis, stuff changes a lot. I think he works on these for a couple of hours.

I do wish he would look at the info one more time before hitting the submit button.


I absolutely means a lot in this forecast, if the storm comes into Florida further west; then all that rain that was going to be offshore and in the Bahamas; will now be over the Eastern Half of the state
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Finding west winds

From 265° at 11 knots
(From the W at ~ 12.6 mph
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Quoting Hurricanes101:


considering that is not where the deepest convection is, I stand by my statement

remember this may be partially sub-tropical so we could easily see Tropical Storm force winds further away from the center


Well that would be good news then.. the further east the strongest winds.. the better for all.
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I wonder if Dr. Masters took into consideration the lastest model runs in his latest Forecast for TD16?
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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